Raita is a traditional Indian meal accompaniment which helps balance, soothe and cool the palette while enjoying a spicy meal. It takes only minutes to prepare and complements a whole range of cuisines – not just Indian or spicy meals.
There are many variations to this classic yogurt-based side dish using different vegetables, fruit and herbs, but I’ve always favoured the lively, cucumber and digestive herb version.
You can vary the texture of raita depending on what you plan to serve it with. Your herbs and cucumber can be rough cut, finely diced or grated and the runnier parts of homemade yogurt can be added to make it more liquid. Traditional milk yogurt raita is often thin and saucy, but I’ve made mine thick and chunky so it holds up like a salad. It could even be served as a dip and scooped up with a vegie stick or cracker.
The raita pictured is 100% plant-based and is made with homemade coconut yogurt. Simply choose the homemade yogurt that suits your dietary preferences. Here’s a quick list of homemade yogurt recipes that will best make this Indian style cucumber and yogurt raita.
I recommend making raita a few hours before it’s required because the flavours intensify after some time chilling in the fridge.
1 cup homemade yogurt
Approx. ¾ cup coarsely grated or finely chopped cucumber
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 spring onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon of salt or more to taste
Cracked pepper to taste
Chopped mint or coriander
Toasted whole cumin seeds (for texture and burst of flavour)
Sprinkle of Chat Masala or coriander powder